• Jennifer Aniston reflected on the Friends reunion in a new interview with US morning show Today.
  • She explained that she never knew Matthew Perry experienced “devastation” and anxiety if he didn’t land a joke, which he shared for the first time during the special.
  • Looking back, she said it “makes a lot of sense,” considering Perry’s subsequent battle with substance misuse that persisted for much of the show.

The Friends cast rehashed some long forgotten memories in the show’s reunion—some harder to process than others. And one particular reflection shared by Matthew Perry (Chandler Bing) left Jennifer Aniston (Rachel Green) and her peers in shock.

During the special, Perry revealed that he experienced moments of ultra-low self-esteem and anxiety attached to his performance and comedic timing during taping. If he didn’t land a joke or messed up a line, the actor said he would “sweat and just, like, go into convulsions.”

“If I didn’t get the laugh I was supposed to get, I would freak out,” he added.

At the time, Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe Buffay) responded, saying, “You didn’t tell us that then. I don’t remember you ever saying that.” And Perry replied: “Oh, yeah. I felt like that every single night.”

In a recent interview with Today, Aniston admitted that she also never knew Perry was under such stress. “I didn’t understand the level of anxiety and self-torture [that] was put on [him] if he didn’t get that laugh, and the devastation that he felt,” she said. “Which makes a lot of sense.”


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Aniston says that because three years into filming Friends, Perry became dependent on painkillers after a jet ski accident beginning his 20 year battle with substance misuse. His declining health was documented on the show—mainly in his dramatic weight loss—and he was admitted to rehab twice over their 10 seasons together.

In 2016 on BBC Radio 2, Perry admitted to “not remembering” three seasons of the sitcom. “Eventually things got so bad I couldn’t hide it and everybody knew,” he recalled. “I was a hopelessly narcissistic guy, and I only thought about myself, and then that just shifted, and when that happened, I got some true happiness and comfort in my life.”

Despite rumors that stirred after his speech slurred in a reunion interview, which a source later said was due to emergency dental work, the actor is now sober—but he says it takes an ongoing conscious effort to keep his health in check.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, call the National Alcohol and Other drug Hotline.

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